The fifth report of the First Hong Kong Total Diet Study has found the population’s dietary exposure to seven commonly encountered metallic contaminants is low and unlikely to threaten the health of the general public, the Centre for Food Safety says.
With these study findings, it advised pregnant women and other groups susceptible to being affected by methylmercury to avoid eating large predatory fish and other fish which may contain high levels of methylmercury.
The study revealed the estimated dietary exposures of the local population, including high consumers, to the seven metallic contaminants analysed were unlikely to pose unacceptable health risks, given that all were below their respective health-based guidance values.
Exposure up to 3.3 µg/kg body weight/week of methylmercury would not pose health risks to the average adult. However, pregnant women should observe a more stringent provisional tolerable weekly intake to protect the embryo and foetus. About 11% of women within the childbearing age had dietary exposure to methylmercury exceeding the more stringent intake.
This exposure to methylmercury through dietary intake would not pose health risks to them. Nevertheless, methylmercury in their body may adversely affect a baby's growing brain by crossing the placenta into the foetus and accumulating in the foetal brain and other tissues, if they are pregnant.
The centre reminded the public to maintain a balanced and varied diet. Pregnant women, women planning pregnancy, and young children should avoid eating large predatory fish and the types of fish which can contain high levels of methylmercury, such as tuna, alfonsino, shark, swordfish, marlin, orange roughy, and king mackerel.
for the report.